FRANCO'S LOSS IS GRADOVICH'S GAIN
Press Release: Last week, Luis Franco, unexpectedly pulled out of his scheduled March 1st IBF featherweight title challenge against Billy Dib. A replacement has been found and Dib is now scheduled to defend against Evgeny Gradovich (15-0 with 8KOs). "I am thrilled to have this opportunity," said Gradovich. "Becoming a world champion has been a life-long dream of mine and on March 1st I will finally have that chance. This is going to be a very special night for me, as not only am I fighting for my first world title, but it will be shown on ESPN so the entire country will have the opportunity to watch it. I am already in great shape and I am going to show the world what I am capable of come March 1st."
"Unfortunately Franco pulled out, but now I have just as tough, if not a tougher test in front of me in Gradovich," said Dib. "I am really excited to be headlining on ESPN against the 'Mexican Russian'. It is going to be an all out punch up. The fans can definitely expect to see a great fight on March 1st."
"Anytime a fight falls out, after already being announced, it is an unfortunate situation," said Lou DiBella. "Fortunately though, we have been able to find an opponent who isn't just any replacement, but rather a terrific, undefeated fighter who is going to make for an exciting main event on ESPN's Friday Night Fights."
The Russian-native Gradovich had an amateur record of 126-24 and competed for the Russian National Boxing team. Looking to make his mark on the professional boxing world, Gradovich moved to the United States and turned pro on March 19, 2010. Trained by the 2012 "Trainer of the Year" Robert Garcia, Gradovich went a perfect 4-0 last year, working his way into the IBF world ratings in the process.